Where will we be?
Still here. More diversely connected to other communities; hopefully more likely to speak a different language, and better off financially, socially and politically. What do you think?
hit me off last week with Digable Planets' "Blowout Comb"
(now playing: it's, like, lover-ly with that "Borough Check" song riffin' off that Roy Ayers rare groove, "We Live in Brooklyn, Baby," interpolated just like "Brooklyn," that Mos Def "Black on Both Sides"
track) as well as Camp Lo's "Uptown Saturday Night."
Journalist/lawyer Debra Dickerson on reconnecting with her brother
and just living.
Burning through illusions:
From an article about black yoga instructors and practitioners in the October 2000 issue of Yoga Journal
(unmentioned on its cover, for some reason), "Yoga in Black and White" by Stephanie Renfrow Hamilton, comes this:
One stereotype the larger society holds about yogis and meditators is that they use their practice as an escape hatch -- that their devotion to the universe within them turns them away from the strife of the world around them. But many of the black yogis I spoke with say they are not about to shy away from life's grittier side: "I don't do yoga to run away from the world; I do it because it helps me create the best platform for me to be able to relate to people in a healthy and safe way," says Jule Broglin, a Kripalu-certified teacher based in West Harrison, New York, who has taught in prisons and at HIV clinics. "When you do yoga that way, you begin to see and feel things in a very realistic manner."
To hear some of the yogis render insights -- forging the bitter lessons of black existence in this country with the sweet aphorisms of yogic thought -- is to witness a kind of alchemy in action. "Most African American people are aware that maya, the worldly world, is an illusion. We're well aware of the fact that the stories in our culture are created by people who have an interest in maintaining certain power," says Simran Kaur Khalsa, director of the Kundaliini Yoga Center in New York City. "This culture makes it very comfortable for people to not have to see. Those of us who aren't comfortable, we like to see."
And what is seen with clarity is society's spiritual malaise. "The real root of racism is egotism, or identifying with and thinking that all you are is your body, your skin," says Purusha Hickson. "Then you look around and say, 'Well, that body, that skin, doesn't look like mine, and mine is better.'" This conceit is delusional, says Khalsa. "People who think in terms of being better than others are just disconnected from the oneness that is," she says. "If you don't recognize that other people are human beings, it's really just your own fear about your own humanity."
While I've still stuck on black conservatives ... :
Another volume, which the wife almost purchased, was "Bulletproof Diva," by Amiri Baraka's daughter Lisa Jones. From a chapter called "My Slave Name" comes this nugget, which recalls a recent discussion with a co-worker about names where Moon Unit and River just happened to come up):
Naming/renaming has been an "issue" for black folks on these shores since the slave ships docked. Following emancipation, not only did families seek to reconstruct their ranks, but their names as well. Sixties nationalism made an expressive though shrill link between slave names, slave hair, and slave mentalities. It wasn't just Cassius Clay, Abbey Lincoln, and Stokely Carmichael who took African and Muslim names, but thousands of regular folk. While hippies baptized their kids Moon Unit and River Phoenix, folks named their's Kwesi and Latifah. (italics mine) Even Clarence Thomas's son, born in 1975, was christened Jamal.
Boldly g'on 'head wit' their bad selves ... :
In discovering last night that GOP presidential also-ran Alan Keyes' wife is Indian,
I also found that he was a big "Star Trek"
fan. Today, while walking along the African-American book aisle in Oakland's Barnes & Noble bookstore, I saw two volumes on a shelf that I'd read before, and passages I once read in them leaped into my head:
"Racism 101," by Nikki Giovanni:
I love Star Trek [movies]. They are nothing less than Greek myths of heroic people doing extraordinary deeds with style and wit. No one on the good ship Enterprise will ever be short of courage. ... Star Trek perfectly epitomizes the sixties. You had a courageous white boy; a logical Vulcan; an Asian scientific transportation officer; an Irish, emotional doctor; and, the ultimate genius of Star Trek, Uhura, a Black woman who was the voice of the entire Federation. Toni Morrison once wrote: "The black woman is both a ship and a safe harbor." Uhura proved that. Of all the possible voices to send into space, the voice of the Black woman was chosen. Why? Because no matter what the words, the voice gives comfort and welcome.
And "Walking on Water: African-American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century" by Randall Kenan:
I often ask myself: Why? Why do I take so much pleasure in Star Trek? Moreover, during my travels, I encountered a great many other black males of my generation who were also Trekkies and Trekkers. Indeed, of all the detritus of pop culture, Star Trek seemed to occupy a strange and singular status. Why was this? ... I speculated that the appeal might have to do with Star Trek's future world -- a world free of disease, war, pettiness, sexism, and, for my black brothers in particular, racism. A fantasy world -- beamed into our homes weekly -- where those inescapable, annoying, infuriating slights and major injustices simply incurred due to the hue of our skins did not exist. A world where we could enjoy camaraderie and the wonders of the universe unsullied; a world -- hell, a galaxy! -- where freedom really did ring, in the cold vacuum of vast outer space.
My mother calls this pure escapism. Stuff and nonsense. But I beg to disagree. I think it is a bit more complex. I see it as ideological metaphor
Had a delightful brunch at Lynn and Lu's Cafe on Grand Avenue with the wife
and Stephen Stout, who's working on his site
Now, I've had a croissant and some root beer at Cafe 1428, and a few slices of watermelon that I will not touch and that Phil the proprietor brought over when Stephen started giving him a hard time about being too busy to make him a coffee drink.
On the cafe's station, the speakers are playing what sounds like a public radio station (where someone is interviewing Stephen Dunifer of Berkeley Liberation Radio at the site of the weeklong National Association of Broadcasters conference in The City today, just before the 4 p.m. protest rally).
Carl Rowan, R.I.P.:
He was one of the first black journalists I remember being aware of, along with Max Robinson at ABC News. I used to read his opinion pieces in the Washington Post. When I was growing up and listening to Washington's WHUR-FM, Rowan's radio commentaries capped the station's 6 p.m. weekly news broadcast called "The Drum." It felt good to learn about Rowan's career and his status with the Freedom Forum when I accepted a Chips Quinn internship in '94.
From today's New York Times, page B2, in the "On Stage And Off" column by Jesse McKinley:
"I saw a book called 'How to Survive Your Ph.D. Dissertation' in the library, and one of the things it suggested was playwriting ... They shouldn't have books like that in the library."
JOHN HENRY REDWOOD, an ex-marine, actor and playwright who appears to be in his 50s -- "his actor side wouldn't permit him to divulge his age" -- and said he came to writing as a diversion from a doctoral thesis. Every morning Mr. Redwood has been going to a rehearsal as the book writer and lyricist for "The In-Gathering," a new musical presented by the New Professional Company at the Duke Theatrer on 42nd Street. In the evening he walks three blocks west to perform as an actor in "A Lesson Before Dying," at the Signature Theater Company.
With no comments forthcoming about this or this, I guess I'll just start flapping my gums. 'Cause this is MY space, goldurnit, and I'm supposed to use it. This site is not a democracy, momentary lapses in ego or special guests notwithstanding. Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty,"
Lester Burnham, said it best: "I RULE!"
Here's a chat with five women, part of that Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece I linked to yesterday. I really enjoy the perspective of the gentleman who's married to the fifth woman.
Didn't Joseph Lieberman make some kind of remarks today or yesterday about outmarriage among Jewish folks? Thought I saw a headline somewhere. Nothing turns up on Yahoo's daily news section. I mean, it's not exactly the same thing for African-Americans, who are dealing with race as a social construct (which some hold onto as strongly to as, or turn into, a religion) instead of a specific faith. Anybody got a spare copy of "Portnoy's Complaint" lying around?
Had a lovely chat with Muriel Myatt
about chasing down old PDF files of old local front pages at Visitron
and talking with her about the fun times she spent at the Paradise Garage some years ago.
is what's going on. But so is this.
is back. Yay!
are going to cover DSL for me. These guys
will install it. If you read this, you'll hear about the thrill of victory and ... uh ... the other stuff.
obviously had a good time at Burning Man.
She's got pix and text.
Go see, go see, go see!
$1.99 at Virgin Mega on Market Street, but I wish I'd paid more -- it's that good. My favorite Beatles album,
done up inna Holly Cole
stylee. Ann Dyer,
ya done good.
With articles like this one,
brought to my attention Saturday evening by Jessi, and this one,
about a book whose paperback version fell neatly into my hands a few days ago and which I may now peruse (having finished this
off in bed earlier today), why aren't I already an NYT subscriber?
Me: Self, I would have to say that I don't rightly know why I am not a NYT subscriber. Beats the hell out of me!
is doing what it doesn't appear to have occurred to anyone to do before now with what comes out of Dennis Miller's mouth.
An interesting experiment in race and perception.
"Detroit, what's happening
/What color is your money today?" (courtesy of lemonyellow
Lee Hubbard passes along his latest works on the need for independent African American bookstores to stay up on this Net thing
and this heads-up piece to golf sleepers on what
Tiger Woods hath wrought.
Had a restful weekend (most likely due to my Ricochet modem's power cord giving up the ghost after two years). Metricom's
got a replacement on the way via two-day Airborne Express. Pix of Saturday night with Maya Angelou on the way should be up later this week.
Semi-profound thought of the moment: The longer one's hair gets, the more shampoo it requires.
says what my wife and I felt while sitting in the car last night around 1:36 a.m. was a 5.2 magnitude quake, 9.4 kilometers below the ground and 3 miles west-southwest of Yountville in the North Bay. It rocked our springs, that's for sure. The car just weeble-wobbled back and forth without so much as a shove from either of us. Freaky.
In the lobby of S.F.'s Masonic Auditorium, before "Celebration of the Word"
starts, there's loads of folks hanging out, buying coffee and cakes and soda and wine.
The folks on either side of me -- pale boomers in vaguely ethnic prints and jeans and stuff -- in the line to buy tickets were talking about their college-age kids (who are planning to spend spring break in Cuba -- "Oh, that's the *in thing* to do lately, isn't it?") and telling each other about poetry slams ("Oh, once in a while the host on NPR
will have some of these kids on. They're all in their 20s and they read aggressively and they get judged!") to distract themselves from the weight of the Maya Angelou book copies clasped in their arms.
Cagney comes by, with drama to spare. He introduces me to members of his family, and then whirls off into the crowd. Stephen Stout says hi. I stand at a table near the door, next to an outlet (Hallelujah!) and out of the way of the crowd.
"So what to do, what to do? I get a job as an editor.
Ya see, editors don't write a lot of code. Ya see, editors don't write
much of anything. They edit. Editing doesn't involve the releasing of
intellectual property into the cold cold hands of the corporation.
Editors get to come in at 9 and go home at 5, and they talk about
writing, and they make jokes about the things they're editing, but
mostly, they read. Read and comment. Read and tweak. Read. Read.
Man, what I can handle is reading. I am ok with reading. Reading and
me, we get along really well."
At some point, I'm going to have to dig out some of my Detroit pictures (from the summer of 1997) and post 'em somewhere on the site. I'm not surprised that stupid shit
like this is going on. Courtesy of Bjord.org's Officer Happy
"We have five or six people out of 150 who went to Burning Man,"
Listen.com spokesman Sean Garrett said. "It's impacting us because we don't have a copy editor for this week, but I don't suppose that's any different from any random vacation."
Soon as I put IronMinds
on my links page, they put a note on Romenesko
that they're looking for new backers. Kiss of death, baby, that's just how I smooch.
is always going on about these animals
and threatening to incorporate them into this piece he's working on.